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Seven Ajax Frameworks / Toolkits to watch out for

Ajax was easily the most talked about technology at JavaOne 2006. Java developers it seemed wanted to get into Ajax by any means possible. So there were 100s lined up for every session that had “Ajax” in its title. It does make sense for developers to try and pick up Ajax soon, as the Ajax hype will move beyond the tech community and you would soon see managers and customers demanding that their applications be Ajaxed. Irrespective of what you think of Ajax, you now have to be able to develop Ajax apps.

Understanding Ajax is one part of the issue however the more complex part is that of actually implementing it. As no real Java developer can develop an application without using a framework, it was only a matter of time before hundreds of Ajax frameworks sprang up. With frameworks, there’s always the concern that you will lock your applications into the framework or even worse adopt a framework that isn’t suited to your needs.

You also need to watch out for frameworks that claim Ajax enabled solely because they have included a popular Ajax Javascript framework in their distribution. Using readymade Ajax enabled JSF components is also a good option that needs to be considered.

Here I have listed a handful of frameworks that I thought will serve us well over the long run. The primary factors I relied on were 1) already established 2) promoted by a major player.

Among those on the list, the Google Web Toolkit, Dojo, Yahoo! User Interface Library, Direct Web Remoting (DWR), Spry framework for Ajax, Mochikit, and Script.aculo.us are all included. Each has just a brief introduction describing it and a link to the project’s homepage.  |

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